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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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158 Squadron Crest
06/07.01.1945 No. 158 Squadron Halifax III NR195 NP-I Fl/Lt. Krefter

Operation: Hanau

Date: 06/07th January 1945

Unit: No. 158 Squadron

Type: Halifax III

Serial: NR195

Code: NP-I

Base: RAF Lissett

Location: Großauheim, Germany

Pilot: Fl/Lt. John Julius Krefter AUS/429582 RAAF Age 29. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Alexander Thomas Clyde 1595187 RAFVR Age 34. Killed

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Leslie Gilbert Morgan 338722 RAF Age 22. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. James Gore 1021154 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. Kenneth Roy Nerney AUS/433277 RAAF Age 19. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ernest Henry Mackenzie Barr 1796037 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Peter Samuel Cotterell 1815603 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off from RAF Lissett at 15:44 hrs to bomb railyards which was an important junction of the German railway system - 482 aircraft taking part from 1,4,6 and 8 groups. Bombing was reported that although many fell in the target area and 40% destroyed many more fell in the surrounding districts - some 90 people were killed on the ground

The following information has been submitted by Rod Mackenzie to Aircrew Remembered in October 2018 (Rod is the co-author of the Nightfighter War Diaries and Nachtjagd Combat Archive 1945 volumes):

"Hanau and Großauheim were completely cloud-covered so the Bomber Command aircraft dropped their loads without seeing the ground. Bomber Command records note the duration of the raid from 18.52 hrs to 19.19 hrs. The bombing of the Flak position and the crash of the Halifax and Lancaster occurred between these times. The Germans obviously tried to credit the bombed Flak battery with the destruction of the two aircraft.

NR195 apparently completely disintegrated in mid-air, while PB228 lost half of the port wing and its rear fuselage and tail unit. From the distribution of the wreckage and description of events, I estimate that NR195 turned off target and lost altitude short of the briefed waypoint east of Großkrotzenburg. In doing so, they passed through the lower height band allocated to the PPF Lancasters and collided with PB228".
The time of the mid-air collision was not 18.50 hrs. A number of returning Bomber Command crews witnessed the incident, recorded it in their logs, and reported it during debriefing. The best estimate on the collision time is between 19:08 - 19:12 hours."

The pilot of PB288 from 635 Squadron, Fl/Lt. Rowland AUS/42209 RAAF the sole survivor of his crew stated in his report after the war:

“After the bomb run we were about to turn onto a new course when almost immediately I saw another 4 engined aircraft appear head on and slightly to my port bow, followed by a tremendous crash. On looking round the port wing was observed to have been torn off, likewise the rear half of the fuselage. This occurred at around 17,000 ft, I then gave orders to abandon the the aircraft but the intercom was dead - likewise the call light failed to function.”

“I saw no parachutes as I hit the ground very soon after leaving the aircraft. I was captured the following day some 25 miles miles from the crash scene.”


The Squadron had another casualty on return:

Halifax III MZ366 NP-M (Lilli Marlene) Flown by Fl/Sgt. Keith McKenzie Anderson AUS/424079 RAAF (shown right) returned from the operation only to overshoot and crash at 22:15 hrs behind the Blue Post Inn at North Frodingham 10 miles South South West of Bridlington in Yorkshire. All the crew survived the crash, but sadly the air bomber, Sgt. Kenneth William Thomas Sutton 1474543 RAFVR died later that night from his injuries.

Burial details:

All the crew lost in this mid-air collision were initially buried in the cemetery at Grossauheim - moved to Durnbach in 1947.

Fl/Lt. John Julius Krefter. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 5.D.17. Born on the 08th April 1915 at Brisbane Queensland, Australia, the son of Julius Herman Krefter and Charlotte Ann Krefter, of Toowong, Queensland, Australia. Grave inscription reads: "His Duty Fearlessly And Nobly Done. Ever Remembered".

Sgt. Alexander Thomas Clyde. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 5.D.19. Son of Thomas Henry Clyde, and of Mary Ann Clyde, of Woodford Bridge, Essex, England and the husband of Sybil Clyde. Grave inscription reads: "In Constant And Treasured Memory Of Our Beloved Son And Brother".

Fl/Sgt. Leslie Gilbert Morgan. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 5.D.15. Son of Frederick Charles and Ellen Morgan, of Enfield, Middlesex, England and the husband of Olive Pauline Morgan, of Enfield. Grave inscription reads: "At The Going Down Of The Sun And In The Morning We Will Remember. Mum, Dad & Family".

Sgt. James Gore. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 5.D.16. Son of James and Alice Gore, of Knotty Ash, Liverpool, England. Grave inscription reads: "We Have Our Sorrow. Day By Day Your Absent Friendship Mars The Sunny Day".

F/O. Kenneth Roy Nerney. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 5.D.13-14. Born on the 13th January 1925 at Sydney, New South Wales, the son of Ernest Winbourne Nerney and Margaret Elizabeth Nerney, of Ashfield, New South Wales, Australia. Grave inscription reads: "To Live In The Hearts Left Behind, Is Not To Die".

Sgt. Ernest Henry Mackenzie Barr. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 5.D.20. Son of Ernest David and Eileen May Barr, of Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Grave inscription reads: "Loving And Beloved In Life; In Death So Truly Noble".

Sgt. Peter Samuel Cotterell. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 5.D.18. Son of A. Cotterell and Mildred Agnes Cotterell, of Broadway, Worcestershire, England. Grave inscription reads: " Loved And Remembered Always. "Let Perpetual Light Shine Upon Him" R.I.P"

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to sources as shown below as well as comprehensive details from Rod Mackenzie (co-author of the Nightfighter War Diaries and Nachtjagd Combat Archive - 1945 volumes).

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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